Relativism In Feminist Epistemology

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In this paper I will address the problem of relativism in the debate of feminist epistemology. The problem of relativism is a powerful rhetoric tool in the hands of reactionaries and other sexist agents. The naturalistic proposal appears to be, at this moment, one of the more successful and shared perspectives in the domain of philosophy. I propose that the framework naturalism/antinaturalism can be useful to think about this problem and to make emerge some aspects that the taxonomy of Harding (1986), while at the same time it can be a tool to reject strawman arguments and the accuse of relativism by the reactionary side. Open problem: if it is useful, can we use other names to address this problem/debate? Limiti ricostruzione storica, limiti…show more content…
The antinaturalist philosopher normally rejects the attribution of strong ontological status, and she prefers to describe not entities but linguistical/discoursive cosntructions (Butler 1990, Rorty 1980). The dualism naturalism/antinaturalism appears to be of particular relevance now, especially in respects of the problem of relativism. Since Eighties in the social sciences domain occurred the an ontology anti-realistic and of an epistemology adverse to the presupposition of the natural and physical sciences (Alcoff 2015). This tendency has been seen as a form of relativism, and has given rise to allegations/charges of relativism. However, relativism is incompatible with the scientific, social and political goals of a great part of social science research, and is therefore considered an obstacle to be removed by the feminist movement and by other forces that want to carry out a political agenda of social change. Feminist epistemology presents, like naturalism, a wide range of different theoretical perspectives. These perspectives have been grouped in three different epistemological streams: the feminist empiricism, the standpoint theory, and feminist postmodernism (Harding…show more content…
In my opinion, this attempt can be read as a local, particular case of the shift of the cultural debate from postmodernist themes and issues (which characterized Eighties and Nineties), to naturalized subjects/contents (I.g. neuroscience, ecological sciences, etc.). Therefore, while this taxonomy (postmodernist/standpoint/empiricist), that I take from Harding (1986) has still now great epistemic value – it has been reprise by pretty much every work on this issue, cfr. Alcoff e Potter 1993, Tripodi 2015), it cannot provide a complete framework to read the complexity and the fragmentation of the contemporary situation (Tanesini 2015). In line with this consideration, I intend to propose a different framework that shouldn’t replace the Harding’s taxonomy but just provide other insights on our epistomological assumptions as feminists. The framework I expose/submit/propose here is centered on the two conceptual poles of naturalism on one side and antinaturalism on the other side. I address the epistemological problem through four different topics. I identify/pinpoint four topics to investigate: 1. Relationship between feminism and

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